It’s all about the story.

Controversially, I’m not starting off this year discussing the craft of goal setting or how to be super focused for 2016. Rather I wanted to share some thinking around stories and the important role they play in shaping our reality. If you find yourself asking a rugby sized team for their opinion on a challenge you have or wonder why you keep receiving the same results over and over this may present some enlightening insights into how you can change your story to positively impact your internal and external world.

Personal branding is the latest in a slew of buzz phrases in personal development land. And it’s certainly worth a thought. In marketing we talk about positioning, leverage, engagement and targeting however a large chunk of a product or service’s success is the consistent story which is being told internally and externally. Our personal brand or story is no different.

As we are all very aware our thoughts and actions create our reality. If we’re not happy with the results we’re getting in one area of life, the answer is simple. Change the thoughts and the consequential actions. And as I’ve mentioned in a previous blog the story you are telling your audience is also the story you are telling yourself – only you are the person hearing multiple times over.


When we are ‘high on life’ from the potential of a new relationship, exciting career opportunity or weight loss achievement for example our flurry of positive energy is infectious. The majority of folk are drawn to our stories like bees to a honey pot and as Jon Gordon writes in The Energy Bus, those who are not are quickly dismissed as we float or fly between groups spreading gently or loudly our tales of success feeling confident, enthused and full of momentum.

However as we know life isn’t always like that. There are times when we might miss out on a promotion at work, a family member hurts us with unkind words or despite efforts our health goals are just not happening. We tell one colleague, we share it at home, next we tell a concerned family member and with some friends over brunch. Before we know it, we have a team of experts giving their opinion on our situation and we’ve given this story so much energy it’s has its own TV show.  This wasn’t our intention of course. We were simply after some insights.  But now the aftermath results in multiple phone calls to see if we’ve taken the advice, our instinct is clouded with judgement of others and we are becoming the starring role in our increasingly dramatic story.  It feels heavy, confusing and weighs negatively on our minds.


When our stories are having a negative impact we have a choice. We can choose a different script. Rather than buying into the story, we can choose not to give it as much energy.  We can decide to confide in the person who knows us best. Ourselves! Check in and query what is this actually about? If a person displays an attribute we don’t like, is this something we don’t like about ourselves? Are we sabotaging results by playing the lead role and what are we getting out of it?  If we want to air our thoughts and bounce ideas, choose only a couple of key people who aren’t going to turn it into an episode of Home & Away whether that’s a trusted friend, mentor or coach. And a final note own your story. Be wary of becoming a dumper, someone who offloads dramas onto others leaving them in the wake of our problems.

Let me be clear. This isn’t about being inauthentic and fabricating picture perfect stories of our worlds. Nor is it about suffering silently when we feel hurt by a situation and need help dealing with it. It is simply suggesting we become conscious of the daily scripts we are running, own them and be prepared to change course when they are no longer useful.

Some questions for you:

  • What is the main story you are running with right now?
  • How much negativity vs positivity is there?
  • Is it going to move you towards the life you want and make 2016 your best year yet?
  • Do you need to understand your story further and consider how it might need to be tweaked in order to move you forward?  laptop

As Rebecca Campbell wrote in Light is The New Black “She left the old story behind her and stepped into a new once upon a time”.

What to do when you have a shocker.

You know when you have one of those weekends when event after event seems to just keep knocking you sideways and you have an absolute shocker. I had one of those a few months back just after moving into my new pad.

It started at 530am on a Saturday fully pumped for a long road bike in the lycras with my mate which ended rather abruptly after a small uphill incident involving a lack of speed.

Next up, I had one of those ‘fabulous call centre calls’ to my new internet provider (TPG – FYI) who realized after my fourth call they don’t have my phone line turned on. At all.

Finding my inner chilled self, I headed off in excitement to F’kea (Ikea with an F for obvious reasons) in an attempt to buy some key purchases to ‘joosh’ up my place. Car full of stuff I didn’t ‘need’ I headed to a nursery for plants I didn’t ‘need’ when I started to notice my car brakes acting up. Ok, so the brake fluid light had come on earlier in the week but…you know how it is.

No, but actually, the brakes really weren’t working! I sketchily drove to VW via the motorway pumping the non-existent brakes, gliding across lanes liberally. When I rocked up to VW they mentioned their mechanical team wasn’t in on the weekends. When I referred to the service they had recently completed and that MY BRAKES DIDN’T WORK I recommended they have a another wee think about what they might do.

In my brand new family wagon I tootled off proud as punch at my assertion with the extra room for my F’kea key purchases. Back at my apartment building (aka Fort Knox) I started carting about 20 separate parcels into the lift and just as I transferred a final package the security swipe, plus ALL my house keys, fell out of my pocket and swiftly down the lift well. My iPhone promptly died. Of course.  I burst into some weird tears. And no, I had not yet cut a spare set of keys. Hpmh.

After getting all the Ikea essentials, bushy plants & crap back in the car (no the car key did not go down – imagine), a new iPhone charger, a very large vino,  crashing on my girlfriends couch, an aggressive walk to Bronte, a cheap locksmith ($99 on a Sunday!) who a friend suggest I needed to ‘find someone like’, it was whilst sunbathing at Bondi a key question finally came to me. What would MacGyver do in this situation? He would get a magnet. Be grateful

Mitre Ten Bondi –bless them, had a magnet rod with a torch on the end ($9.95). Best purchase in a long time. Back at the ranch elevator I tied two bikini straps to the magnet then dangled it down the lift shaft – and after three attempts boom! Keys retrieved.

So apart from not trusting TPG when they say you are ‘internet ready’, learning that a brake fluid light means you really should drive immediately to VW, getting spare keys cut pronto and obtaining a large ugly key ring what were my life lessons that weekend?

Thank you

It was all about gratitude.  Aside from being grateful for the hours of MacGyver viewing circa ’85/’86 I would not have survived without my urban family. Not only for physical help but emotional support to have a laugh at what had transpired & not lose the plot. I was also extremely grateful for having a roof over my head and a safe car (eventually) to drive. There’s nothing like not having something temporarily to remind you of how grateful you are.